Drivers in Canada are responsible for maintaining basic automobile insurance. This includes insurance for both third-party liability as well as accident benefits.
Many insurance policies also include endorsements that exclude, add, or delete an existing insurance contract. Two categories of endorsements apply to Alberta insurance policies. The first type is a standard endorsement form (SEF) that the Superintendent of Insurance approves. The second type of endorsement is called a conditionally approved endorsement (CAE). These endorsement forms are not standard, and specific insurance companies use these forms depending upon specific client needs.
The different insurance policies and the contents can be difficult to interpret. If you are in a car accident, you need an accident injury lawyer who understands the coverage and policies that might apply to your case. This is especially true if you need to file an injury claim.
If you or a person you care about is involved in a motor vehicle collision, a car accident lawyer can answer all of your insurance coverage questions and the options you may have available to you.
Depending on the circumstances, your personal injury lawyer can assist you with filing a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance company or with your own insurance company. Your accident lawyer will then help you maximize the compensation you are eligible to recover for your accident-related injuries.
Third-party Insurance Coverage and Claims
Canada law requires that motor vehicle operators maintain third-party insurance coverage on their vehicles with at least basic automobile insurance. This is so that if they cause an accident that results in someone else’s injuries, the accident victim can file a claim with their insurance company.
Motor vehicle collisions can result from several different types of negligence. For example, a driver might be speeding, failing to yield the right of way, tailgating another vehicle, or otherwise engaging in reckless and careless driving. At other times, a distracted or intoxicated at-fault driver might cause a crash. If so, the accident victim can file a third-party claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company, seeking various damages.
Suppose you have suffered injuries in an accident that resulted from negligence. In that case, your injury lawyer can assist you with filing a third-party claim and seek the compensation you deserve from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
First-Party Insurance Coverage – Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Claims and Benefits
First-party insurance benefits include uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. These types of coverage come into play under various circumstances. A person can file an uninsured motorist claim if the at-fault driver did not have insurance coverage, despite the legal requirement. An injured accident victim can also file an uninsured motorist claim if the at-fault driver fled the accident scene. These types of accidents are called phantom vehicle accidents.
Alternatively, a driver can file a claim for underinsured motorist benefits if the at-fault driver did have insurance coverage, but the coverage could not adequately compensate them for their injuries and damages. For example, the at-fault driver might have had minimal policy limits of insurance coverage that did not compensate the accident victim for all of their medical treatment, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages. Once the accident victim exhausts the full limits of the at-fault driver’s insurance policy, they can turn to their own insurance company for the remainder.
In uninsured and underinsured motorist claims, the accident victim files a claim or lawsuit with their own insurance company. These claims are tort-based and contract-based. The claims are tort-based because they resulted from a motor vehicle collision when another driver was presumably negligent. They are contract-based because they allege that the insurance company breached its contract to provide compensation when third-party coverage is lacking or unavailable.
A car accident lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible to file a first-party claim against your own insurance company and if so, can assist you with every step of the process. Your motor vehicle accident lawyer can then negotiate with the insurance company and work to get you the compensation that you deserve for your accident-related injuries.
Filing and Litigating a Car Accident Claim
The claims filing process is similar whether an accident victim files a first-party or a third-party claim. The accident victim’s lawyer will first need to submit a settlement demand letter to the appropriate insurance company, making a monetary demand for settlement. If the accident victim suffered extremely severe injuries, they might start by demanding the full policy limits.
The parties can then negotiate from there. In addition to the settlement demand letter, the accident victim’s lawyer will include various documents in a settlement demand package. That package will include a copy of the police report, eyewitness statements, investigative reports, medical records, medical bills, lost wage statements, victim impact statements, photographs of property damage, and photographs of the accident victim’s injuries, if any.
Once the insurance company adjuster handling the claim reviews all the documents, they may start negotiations with the accident victim’s lawyer. The parties will negotiate a favorable settlement, but the accident victim’s lawyer can file a lawsuit in the court system if they reach an impasse. Even after the lawyer files their lawsuit, the parties can continue negotiating to a favorable conclusion.
However, if the parties do not resolve their case during litigation, the case can go to trial or to an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process such as mediation or arbitration. At a trial, the judge will decide the outcome of all issues that both parties disputed at that time, including damages. In a binding arbitration proceeding, which the parties may elect, a neutral arbitrator will listen to the evidence that the parties present and decide on damages.
A car accident lawyer can help you decide whether you should accept a pending settlement offer from an insurance company or file a lawsuit and litigate your case through the court system. If you choose to litigate the case, your lawyer can assist you throughout the discovery process and represent you at a trial or ADR proceeding. You can rest assured that your injury lawyer will aggressively fight for your right to recover the monetary compensation you need for the injuries you suffered.
Pursuing Damages for Car Accident Injuries Under a First-party or Third-party Insurance Claim
Victims of car accidents can suffer extremely severe injuries depending upon the circumstances of the collision. Other factors that determine the injuries a car accident victim will suffer can include the type of collision (such as a rear-end accident, head-on collision, broadside accident, or sideswipe accident) and how the accident victim’s body moved in the car at the point of impact.
The force of some collisions is so strong that a part of the accident victim’s body strikes the headrest, steering wheel, door frame, window, or console of the vehicle, leading to a severe injury. Typical car accident injuries include traumatic head and brain injuries, such as concussions, along with fractures and broken bones. Car accident victims can also suffer cuts, abrasions, bruises, soft tissue injuries, internal damage, and even death in severe accidents.
Victims of car accidents often need to undergo a significant amount of medical treatment. For example, immediately following the accident, they might need a follow-up at a hospital emergency room or urgent care center and receive treatment there. They also might need to undergo surgery, for example, if they fractured a bone. Finally, they may need rehabilitation for their injuries, such as at a physical therapy facility. This medical treatment can disrupt a victim’s life and work, and many types of bills pile up very quickly. Fortunately, victims of car accidents may be eligible to file a third-party or a first-party insurance claim, depending upon the circumstances of the accident, how it occurred, and who was at fault.
To be eligible for damages by filing a claim, the accident victim must usually prove that their collision resulted from another driver’s negligence. In other words, the driver must have done something wrong or acted unreasonably under the circumstances, such as by violating a traffic law. In addition, the accident victim must ordinarily demonstrate that they suffered at least one injury as a direct result of the accident. Accident victims who can satisfy these legal elements can pursue a claim for damages.
The damages that a car accident victim can recover in their case will depend upon various circumstances. One obvious factor is the liability coverage limits contained in the insurance policy that is in play. Sometimes, as with an underinsured motorist claim, several insurance policies will factor into the equation.
However, just because a particular insurance policy has high coverage limits does not necessarily mean that the case is valuable from a monetary perspective. The damages that a victim can recover in their car accident claim will depend on the extent of the accident victim’s injuries, the extent of their medical treatment, and the lost income that resulted from the accident. A car accident victim who suffered a permanent injury may net more compensation than a case where the accident victim sustained minor injuries.
Victims of car accidents can pursue and recover various damages via a third-party or first-party personal injury claim. Those potential damages include lost wages if the accident victim had to miss time away from work to treat their injuries. Accident victims can also pursue other out-of-pocket losses related to their injuries.
Likewise, victims of car accidents can claim noneconomic damages, including inconvenience, pain, suffering, permanent disability, loss of the ability to use a body part, loss of life enjoyment, and loss of spousal companionship or family support.
If you or someone you care about has suffered injuries in a car accident, a knowledgeable accident lawyer can explore your eligibility for these types of damages.
Your lawyer can negotiate with the appropriate insurance company and work to maximize the settlement compensation you recover. If the insurance company won’t offer you the compensation that you need to make you whole again, your lawyer can litigate the case in court and bring it to an efficient conclusion.
Contact a Knowledgeable Auto Accident Lawyer Today
If you have suffered injuries in an auto accident, it can sometimes be challenging to determine which insurance coverage and policies might come into play in your case. An experienced car accident lawyer can review your legal options with you and help you file your claim with the appropriate insurance company.
Your lawyer can then set about negotiating a favorable settlement on your behalf and, if necessary, file a lawsuit in court, taking your car accident case to a trial, mediation, or binding arbitration proceeding. Your injury lawyer will help you maximize the compensation available to you and work to ensure that you receive an award that fully and fairly compensates you for everything that you endured in your accident – including your pain and suffering, mental distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
Never risk leaving money on the table by trying to handle a car accident claim yourself. Too many people believe they can save money by filing a claim without hiring a lawyer, but this can result in a settlement far lower than you need to cover your losses. Then, you will have no options to seek additional compensation, and you must pay for future losses. Hiring an injury lawyer can significantly improve your chances of being fairly compensated.